REVIEW: Flummox - Garage Prog EP

FLUMMOX
Garage Prog EP
MURFREESBORO, TN

I'm no stranger to the likes of Flummox, no. I've both reviewed them back in the day (see here) and they were gracious enough to be featured on our Suicide Awareness compilation. Aside from that I've often listened to their work on the side over the years, though as I've taken a year long absence, I've been completely out of the loop - and, what do you know, they've released a EP and, news to me, now consist of 5 members.

Still though, I'm going to have to say that, with the Garage Prog EP, things are still generally very... how do I put it... Flummoxy. The group has a very spastic, almost schizophrenic sound, and though it seems to a little toned down when it comes to progression (maybe even considering this EP to be 'progressive' might be a reach this time, as the EP features some drastically shorter songs aside from 'Black Phillip'. Then again, who is to say prog has to consist of strictly lengthy songs?) there is a good level of unpredictability here. In fact, I have to admit that the EP itself is probably even more enjoyable then their previous album, Selcouth. Tracks like Tom Walker Blues are a lot more simple and straight forward, like the group has a better sense of what to do with themselves, but rather then seeming like an attempt at mainstream appeal - it feels like a natural next step for Flummox. It's not like things have just switched to power ballads, piano solos, and the infamous I–V–vi–IV pop chords or something as mundane as that.

Amazingly, nearly the enitre EP was recorded live. Showing that Flummox is a highly capable band, especially Blake Dellinger who still remains the defining presence here, his bass work and vocals alone always seem to provide something wholly unique and make me year for the days of highly experimental bands like Mr. Bungle. It isn't to say the other members don't do their job well here, but the simpler songs do tend to lend themselves to less definition when it comes to guitar and drums. But, if you want to see what everyone is capable of - there is a wealth of Flummox material to browse on their bandcamp (Phlummoxygen probably being their best effort, in my opinion - for the entire band).

Flummox most certainly lives up to their chosen name, time and time again. And have proven their reliability and capability as a band to put together increasingly unique and varied music. Unless Mr. Bungle ever comes back, Flummox is my personal replacement. There is a reason that I've been listening to them all these years and continue to to this day.